MILLWALL boss Ian Holloway is confident the recent improvements in his side's performances will soon be reflected in results.
The Lions were beaten 1-0 by Brighton at The Den on Saturday but Holloway claimed their display represented another step forward under his management.
Holloway admits, however, that Millwall now need to prove that they deserve to stay in the Championship by converting performances into points over the coming weeks.
"I'm seeing a big difference," he said. "I saw spirit – whoever I brought on, whoever I took off, that's more like it. The effort was unbelievable from everybody.
"How we have actually lost again I do not know, but such is life. Maybe we shouldn't miss from three yards out and maybe we've got to start believing in ourselves.
"I believe it will turn, I really do. It has got to turn quickly I know, but I believe it will. The boys have got to be brave enough to turn this around and stop looking for excuses.
"We've got to start finishing off our opportunities."
Holloway measured the Lions' progress by comparing the substitution of Shane Lowry for Scott McDonald with a similar change he made against Reading last month.
On that day, John Marquis replaced Mark Beevers and the Royals scored two quick goals.
"What really pleased me was the changes I made and the way the players understood them," Holloway said.
"We looked dangerous towards the end of the game, which wasn't the case at Barnsley.
"I took off a centre half and the last time I did that we went to pieces like a jigsaw, but this time it caused Brighton all sorts of issues and we looked strong.
"The tougher it gets, the tougher we have got to get. When I get knocked down, I get back up again and that's my life motto. I'm going to keep getting up because I love this place.
"I want my players to understand that I won't go against them, I'll keep working and keeping fighting with them, because that's what our duty is.
"We don't need referees to help us because I think we will be better than three other teams. It's alright me saying that but we have to prove that.
"There are a lot of things in our performances that are looking better – Ed Upson and Owen Garvan were terrific I thought, and Shaun Williams is excellent with his range of passing.
"We're getting there."